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Linking trust and performance evaluation style

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  • Hf5601 Accounting


Researchers have long called for broader perspectives of performance evaluation style (Ferreira and Otley, 2009; Noeverman and Koene, 2005; Hartmann, 2000; Vagneur and Peiperl, 2000). Trust is relevant to performance evaluation and meaningful to other aspects of management control. However, little research exists on the relationship between trust and aspects of management control (Hartmann & Slapnicar, 2009; Noeverman, 2007). The primary purpose of this thesis is to explore the linkage between trust and performance evaluation style from a multidimensional perspective. Evaluation style encompasses perceptions of use at three stages of the evaluation process (i.e. target-setting, evaluating, and rewarding). Similarly, trust encompasses perceptions of beliefs about self, beliefs about other, and behavioural outcomes in the superior-subordinate relationship. This thesis reports on a field study conducted within subsidiaries of two multinational firms in the financial services industry. The study of trust and performance evaluation style followed an innovative middle range research approach. Using vignettes and probing questions in semi-structured in-depth interviews, meanings around the constructs of trust and performance evaluation style were elicited. Such a multidimensional context-specific perspective answers calls for further development within both literatures, and therefore contributes to a better theoretical understanding of how evaluation style is linked to trust. The results of the research project reveal a bi-directional association between trust and performance evaluation style. In so doing, it highlights contributions towards further theory development through relating performance evaluation style as influential to trust, and likewise, trust as influential to performance evaluation style. Moreover, trust and performance evaluation style can be both complements and substitutes. A theoretical matrix is also developed which provides useful insight into the potential linkages. Additionally, this thesis shows the importance of context and functional role in defining individual perceptions on trust and evaluation style.

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